Belarusian traditional cuisine
Machanka, draniki and kvass
Traditional Belarusian cuisine has been molding itself alongside Belarusian culture on the whole for a very long time. Time in which it has felt the strong influences of neighbor countries, especially Russia, Ukraine and Latvia. The close cultural and economic relations that were created throughout the centuries show in the common names that many peoples in the region have for identical dishes, beverages and even tableware in some cases.
There is a very deeply ingrained respect for bread in Belarusian culture. Belarusian peasants would take bread to celebrations as well as used it to welcome the most revered guests – a tradition that still exists here and surrounding countries where revered guests are welcomed with salt and bread.
Bread is a culture of its own pretty much, the presence of it spoke of a family’s income because poorer villagers could only enjoy it occasionally and would also add a lot of other grains into the dough, in fact the bread that was baked using exclusively only rye flour was referred to as ‘cake’ by the poor. There are also quite a few sayings and provers related to bread in the Belarus language.
Possibly second in importance to bread, were potatoes. A lot of old traditional Belarusian dishes are based around potatoes and are still extremely popular today, things like babka, draniki or kolduny. Usually potato dishes were served with a variety of dairy products as well.
Meat was rather hard to come-by in the olden days, with pork being the main meat mostly eaten around the Christian holidays, mutton and beef being much less popular.
Not to say that all Belarusian cuisine is dominated by bread and potatoes, far from it, their salads are actually extremely creative and possibly due to the growing conditions and ingredients available, they feature some rather unique and creative combinations. It not uncommon to find salads containing nuts, fruits and meats, basically a salad will never be just a bunch of lettuce and a couple pieces of tomatoes.
Also the idea of a salad in Belarus is to mix a lot of tastes together, and to best mix the tastes of all the ingredients, as such their salads are usually made from small squares, finely chopped or even grated ingredients.
Modern-day Belarusian cuisine features a large range of potato, mushroom and pork dishes, in various combinations with a plethora of other ingredients, creating many delicious and different tasting dishes.
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